Penn State 82, North Carolina 74
NEW ORLEANS — Even when he was missing, Joe Crispin kept shooting. Even when he was tiring, he kept running.
Pushing his team all game, Crispin put Penn State on the basketball map Sunday. The school known for its football knocked out North Carolina 82-74, capping a bracket-breaking afternoon in the second round of the South Regional.
"I really expected us to win that game. I totally expected it," the star guard with the buzzcut said.
"As far as the program, it's a great win, but we want to keep going," he said.
North Carolina, making its record 27th straight trip to the NCAA tournament, went home. All-American Joseph Forte was held to six points, matching his career low.
The Tar Heels were the top-ranked team in the nation this season after winning 18 straight games. Their hopes of making a return trip to the Final Four came to an abrupt halt, as did Matt Doherty's first year as coach.
"It stings pretty good. The finality of it, it hurts," he said.
Penn State reached the round of 16 for the first time since 1955, and advanced to play Temple on Friday at Atlanta.
Temple, which used it renowned matchup zone defense to shut down Florida 75-54, and Penn State met earlier this season. The Nittany Lions beat the shorthanded Owls 66-60 on Dec. 9.
"They're not even close to the same team they were when we faced them before," Crispin said.
Second-seeded North Carolina and third-seeded Florida met in last year's national semifinals.
The Tar Heels' chance to advance ended at the Superdome, the place where Doherty helped them win the 1982 title. A disappointing finish for a team that staggered the end of the season, losing four of its last eight going into the NCAAs.
"Any team that's ranked No. 1 at some point in the year has a chance to do special things," said Doherty. "Things just didn't click for us at the end."
The Tar Heels (26-7) led 68-64 with 4 1/2 minutes left, but Forte missed four straight 3-pointers the rest of the way. The sophomore shot just 3-for-13.
"I was trying to get my teammates involved, maybe more than usual," Forte said.
Crispin, the Big Ten scoring leader, had 21 points on 7-for-21 shooting. He rushed up and down the court, even when Penn State fell behind 19-8.
"I took some shots that were not good shots, but they helped keep the pace up, and that was in our favor," he said. "In those last four minutes, we got some big buckets and had the energy and the legs."
Crispin's brother, John, and Titus Ivory teamed up to slow down Forte. Ivory, who grew up in Charlotte, N.C., and was not recruited by the Tar Heels, also had 21 points.
"I definitely can go home with my head held high," Ivory said.
Ivory's effort came after his mother, Carlenia, was hospitalized Saturday night in New Orleans because of bleeding ulcers.
"She's doing better today. She has a big hug waiting for her," Ivory said.
While the seventh-seeded Nittany Lions (21-11) won it at the end, 11th-seeded Temple had little trouble with Florida.
Quincy Wadley had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Lynn Greer scored 20 as the Owls (23-12) won their ninth in a row.
Temple also reached the round of 16 in 1999.
It was a familiar Philadelphia story for the Owls as their defense frustrated yet another top opponent.
"It pretty much demoralized them," Wadley said.
The 54 points matched the fewest in coach Billy Donovan's five years at Florida.
"Coach Chaney says a lot of things, and some of them I may not remember. The main thing was that we had to play good defense," Greer said.
The Gators fell behind by 20 at halftime and never had a chance to make a return trip to the NCAA title game, where they lost 89-76 to Michigan State last season.
At times, Florida looked like it was facing a 2-3-2 defense, rather than one with only five players.
"They've got a really active zone," Donovan said. "We took some long, ill-advised threes."
Florida shot only 18-for-50 overall, including 8-for-29 on threes.
Scoreless for the opening 11 minutes, Wadley hit four threes to spark a 14-0 run late in the first half that put Temple ahead for good.
Udonis Haslem had 16 points for Florida, and Matt Bonner had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
A day earlier, John Chaney — the first Division I coach to recruit Donovan when he was a high school star — said this game would come down to two different styles.
He was right.
Florida had not faced Temple in eight years, and Donovan had never coached against Chaney.
Even Temple players admit it takes years to learn how to play Chaney's system.
With only one day to prepare for it, the Gators had no chance.
"We knew we had a good team and could play with anybody in the country," Greer said.